Last week, we took an in-depth look at the events of Black Friday and how what’s happening in 2011 is different than 2006, and what that might mean for affiliates.

The conclusion: Even though there’s no doubt that online gambling is facing a tough time in the U.S, there’s also probably never been a better time for gaming affiliates to position themselves in this market.

“I still see this as a very high opportunity market,” PokerAffiliateSolutions’ Chief Marketing Officer Herb Jenkins recently told, “if somebody’s willing to really dedicate themselves, create something unique, and be willing to drive that success.”

Fact: Americans still love poker
What’s he mean? What opportunities could possibly exist today for affiliates in a market that’s under the gun from U.S. authorities?

“The poker affiliate industry has great commission models in comparison to many of the traditional affiliate market spaces,” says Victory Poker CEO Dan Fleyshman. “So while things are not as easy as they used to be in this undstry, they’re still substantially easier than it is outside the industry.”

“Just because some people’s ability to play has been removed, their interest in the game and the lifestyle surrounding the game has not been changed at all,” added Aaron Gerdes, chief strategy officer of “And that actually creates a market opportunity in a number of ways.”

The lesson: Just because there are suddenly far fewer poker websites in the U.S. market, doesn’t mean there are fewer poker players. Quite the opposite, actually; particularly as this year’s WSOP may shape up as the biggest ever, it’s clear that Americans’ interest in poker is increasing, not decreasing.

Remember, poker was invented by Americans. Some argue that the internet was, too. So it doesn’t make sense that U.S. citizens can’t play poker online. Players are still looking for places to play. U.S. authorities and big business know this — it’s probably what’s underlying the “Black Friday” legal actions in the first place. The U.S. wants to remove foreign companies and create a market for U.S. companies like Caesars Entertainment, which would be much easier to tax.

Brave new poker affiliate world
The market is shifting, and probably pretty quickly: Today’s PokerStars and Full Tilts will soon be tomorrow’s Bally’s and Ceasars Entertainment (which already owns the WSOP brand, online poker’s biggest traffic driver).

The experts CAP spoke to seem certain. “Over the next 12 to 24 months, Vegas casinos will get involved,” said’s Jeremy Enke. He predicts that when that happens, a more traditional affiliate marketing model will take hold.

So, what can affiliates do today to prepare for what might happen in poker affiliate marketing tomorrow? How can we turn the fact that people still love poker into new revenue streams? We explore that question tomorrow at the CAP Blog.

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